Once you complete your first session, you may be wondering what you can expect from laser tattoo removal after one treatment. We know that people are usually eager to see significant results as soon as possible. After all, once you finally make the decision to start the removal process, you’ve already been fed up with your tattoo for awhile, possibly even for decades.
Unfortunately, unlike getting a tattoo which shows up pretty much immediately, laser tattoo removal is a process often requiring between 3-6 treatments for complete removal. Because of this, we always warn people that you may not see huge changes to your tattoo right away. But don’t be discouraged! Every time you sit under the laser, you are making progress. And while it might be difficult to notice significant changes at first, a comparison between photographs taken during previous visits can reveal the true extent of progress.
The typical results from laser tattoo removal after one treatment vary. Things like ink color, concentration, age and the depth of the actual tattoo, all factor into the responsiveness of the tattoo to laser treatment. And, while your first session should show at least some results, there are a few things that might affect the upfront visual significance of your laser tattoo removal after one treatment.
Tattoos don’t always fade consistently across the entire image.
This is due to the differences between colors, thickness and depth that can exist in a single tattoo. Tattoos which include both black lines and colors (especially green or blue) may require different treatments, so you might see fading in one portion of your tattoo but no results in another. That’s why we tackle your particular tattoo’s laser tattoo removal with a review and consultation at the beginning of every session. Choosing the best action for that session to create the most results.
Some kinds of tattoos are more difficult to remove than others.
This has more to do with density than darkness, since the ink layers are broken up by the laser and removed from the top down. The thicker and more dense the tattoo, the longer it will take. Thick tattoos and black lines are especially stubborn in showing immediate results, often appearing fuzzy before they really show fading.
Different colors often require different lasers to effectively remove.
Through our research and experience, we know that reds, oranges, yellows and browns are best treated with wavelengths of 532nm, whereas dark colors like black are best removed with wavelengths of 1064nm. For this, we use our Cutera laser, which operates in those two wavelengths. Green and blue tattoo inks require a 755nm wavelength to remove, for which we use our PicoSure laser.
The location of your tattoo matters.
The closer to your heart that the tattoo is, the faster it will fade. This is due to increased blood pressure and immune cells present in areas closer to your heart. As a result, chest and back tattoos will fade faster than hand and foot tattoos.
Smoking will significantly increase your tattoo removal time.
The American Medical Association’s Archives of Dermatology found that smoking can reduce the chance of successfully removing a tattoo after 10 treatment sessions by 70%. As a smoker, the body’s immune system is already dealing with the removal of foreign objects, removing smoke and other particles from the lungs which significantly reduces its ability to tackle the additional foreign objects caused by broken up ink particles. That’s not to say that we can’t remove your tattoo as a smoker, but be prepared for a longer recovery time and quite a few more sessions to achieve a complete removal.
Everyone’s body processes ink removal differently. It takes time for the body to process broken up ink particles and remove it from the tattoo site. So the results from one person’s laser tattoo removal after one treatment, may vary drastically from another person’s. We can give you our best estimate when you come in for a free consultation during your first visit, but your results will be specific for your body and particular tattoo.